Migration of university graduates and structural aspects of regional higher education

Regions are increasingly trying to improve their chances to attract and retain graduates, and universities tend to be strategic resources in this process. Establishing new universities or increasing the number of students in the region does not always lead to a higher human capital stock because some graduates will migrate to regions with more and better job opportunities. This is natural given that most universities tend to have a national student market but a somewhat neglected aspect in this regard is whether the structure of education and quality of the university influence graduate migration. However, this is one of the most important decisions of regional and national governments that has long-term implications for regional prosperity. Our results based on Swedish microdata show that investments in improving the quality of higher education must necessarily be linked to a policy of also supporting the broader regional economy. Policies aiming to increase human capital in the region should be adapted to the characteristics of local and non-local graduates as their migration strategies differ.